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UEFA Europa League group stage: The favorites of each group

uefa eurpoa league
A past UEFA Europa League match. Photo/Manchester Evening News
  • The UEFA Europa League 23/24 campaign is almost upon us
  • The competition is one that is still held in very high regard
  • The eventual winners will book their place in the UEFA Champions League next season

The UEFA Europa League 23/24 campaign is almost upon us, as Europe’s secondary competition is set to get underway shortly after the conclusion of the September international break and the resumption of many of the continent’s domestic leagues.

The competition is one that is still held in very high regard by the teams that qualify and compete in it, with more than just the trophy at the end of the tournament being up for grabs. The eventual winners will book their place in the UEFA Champions League next season.

Spanish side and UEFA Europa League serial winners and specialist Sevilla managed to claim their seventh title (which is a record) when they defeated AS Roma on penalties after a tense 1-1 draw through 90 minutes and extra time.

Big teams involved in the 2023/24 UEL

uefa europa league

EUEFA Europa League trophy. Photo/Sports Illustrated

Despite the prestige of the tournament, there are not usually too many big hitters in the competition from the beginning of the group stages. Many of these usually manage to qualify for the UEFA Champions League as they finish in the positions required domestically. When they do enter the UEL, it is because they have normally failed to qualify from their group in Europe’s premier continental club competition by finishing third, thus entering after the first phase.

However, this year’s competition could be very different, as there are some big European heavyweights entering the fray from the beginning. Most notably, Liverpool are among one of those with the biggest reputation, which is perhaps why so many are already considering them the favorites to win the entire tournament at this stage. According to the odds provided by the 32red sports betting site, the Reds are the outright favorites to win, as they have odds of 4.00. Brighton and Hove Albion, who will be playing in their first ever tournament, are second favorites to win the 23/24 UEL with odds of 12.00, while Roma and Real Betis are both at 14.00.

Favorites to win their Group

The odds provided are also indicative of the likelihood that those teams will be favorites to win their groups, too. Again, they are among some of the biggest hitters in the tournament, and with teams that are deemed smaller than them in terms of ranking and seeding included, many feel that they will overpower their opponents when they face off in the first stage.

Xherdan Shaqiri

Xherdan Shaqiri biography. Photo/ Sky Sports.

The favorites of each group and their odds are as follows:

  • Group A – West Ham (1.90)
  • Group B – Brighton and Hove Albion (2.15)
  • Group C – Real Betis (1.50)
  • Group D – Atalanta (2.05)
  • Group E – Liverpool (1.10)
  • Group F – Villarreal (1.67)
  • Group G – AS Roma (1.25)
  • Group H – Bayer Leverkusen (1.44)

Most of the groups when looking at the odds appear to be rather easy to call, with most having an outright advantage over the others. This is likely due to the quality of their squads and the reputation in European football.

The only group that could potentially go against the idea of those listed as certain favorites and be different is Group D, with Atalanta only just edging Sporting Lisbon (2.25). Of course, with continental football, anything can happen when two teams take to the pitch.

Will the UEFA Europa League Groups play out as the bookmakers expect?

It is not often that the bookmakers ever get sporting events such as the UEL wrong when they set the odds and prices of their markets. They use historical data, as well as real-time analytics and statistics to give them informed outcomes that are most likely to take place.

However, it is impossible to rule out anything from happening, as football is a sport that gives anyone the chance to achieve the impossible when they step out onto the pitch. Each match is only 90 minutes long and a lot can happen. We have seen shocks happen in the past where teams who were heavy favorites failed to do what was expected of them.

The 2023/24 UEL should still be able to provide plenty of exceptional football action throughout the Group Phase, and whoever manages to qualify for the next phase will hope it strengthens their chance of winning one of the biggest prizes the sport has to offer!

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, but an outgoing sports writer with focus on tennis, athletics, football, motorsports and NBA.

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